Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Conversation (face to face) (10/07/10)
TITLE: Parched Ground
By Veronica Winley
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Now, seated at a table in the middle of the room, she could tell he was uncomfortable. He liked to sit in corners or booths and was not really pleased when she asked to be seated someplace “more open.” She had to admit, though, he looked very handsome in the clothes she had laid out for him. In silence they glanced over the menu and when a bread basket was placed on the table, he reached across to grab her hand for the blessing. She felt a little guilty about her momentary embarrassment but wished just this once they could have said an individual, silent prayer. When he finished thanking God for allowing them to see another anniversary and asking his blessing on the food, she lifted her head and glanced around quickly to see if anyone had been watching them. She relaxed when she saw the people at the other tables seemed engrossed in their own conversations.
After the waiter took their order, she leaned back and watched her husband select a hot roll and begin to butter it. Listening to the soft murmuring going on around her, she felt a small frisson of resentment. Oh, she loved him and supposed he loved her. But it was all so familiar. A place like this was wasted on “old marrieds.” There was nothing they didn’t know about each other, nothing that hadn’t been discussed at least twice, nothing that wasn’t a sad shadow of a closer, more intimate time in their marriage. Their only child lived eight hundred miles away and after his infrequent phone calls –and even more infrequent visits – they examined and discussed his life to the point of exhaustion, then went back to talking about the leaking roof and the church bazaar. In her heart she often cried out to the Lord and confessed that she desperately wanted something more. Sometimes He too was silent.
Having finished the first roll, her husband picked up another one. She nodded when he stated how good they were and thanked him when he gave her one. But she didn’t want bread. Deep within her was a hunger that hot buttered rolls would not satisfy, a desire to be touched, stroked, and loved with words. Conversation. In the past, trying to talk to him about her need met with bewilderment on his part and frustration on hers. So she stopped trying. Perhaps she was asking too much.
The waiter returned with their drinks and with a deep sigh, she looked up from her hands, where she had been twisting her wedding band. Reaching for her glass of iced tea, she glanced at her husband and was startled to find that he had been watching her. With an elbow on the table, he was stroking his lower lip with his thumb, a gesture she remembered from their dating days and one which she had always found endearing and, to be honest, sensual. Feeling her face getting a little hot, she became self conscious and with a tentative smile, said “What?” Still looking at her and with the music playing softly in the background, he replied, “I was just thinking of a promise God gave in Isaiah 41:18, to ‘turn the desert into pools of water and the parched ground into springs’.“(NIV) He paused for a long moment and then once again stretched his hand across the table, this time in supplication. “Talk to me.”
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